Illustrator Jena Holliday Gives Kids a Lesson on Faith with New Children’s Book

Jena Holliday
Author Jena Holliday of the new children's book " A Spoonful of Faith." Image: Kennedy Jade Photography.

As defined by Merriam-Webster, faith is a “strong belief or trust in someone or something.” Often based on things unseen, faith is a challenging concept that even some adults have trouble grasping. So when illustrator Jena Holliday thought about how parents could begin to teach such a complex notion to their little ones, she decided on a children’s book.

Named after Holliday’s illustration company, which by all acounts is the manifestation of her decision to step out on faith, A Spoonful of Faith teaches children how to overcome challenges by simply believing that they can.

EBONY: Tell us about the inspiration behind your children’s book A Spoonful of Faith.

Jena Holliday: In creating this story, I wanted to show how small steps of faith can help us overcome anything.  I felt it was important to do so in a way that both kids and parents could understand and relate to. Sometimes there are ideas we want to teach our children, but we don’t know how to do so. This story is a beautiful example of how a conversation about faith can be weaved into your and your little one’s life. It’s a fun read with a powerful message.

A Spoonful of Faith (Harper Collins), Jena Holliday, $15, amazon.com.

What led you to use cooking as a metaphor for faith? 

Faith is like soul food. If you get yourself just a little bit, you find the strength to be brave and face anything. I love that cooking takes place in every culture and brings us together. As these characters were created, I thought of my own relationship with my mother, and how I loved the feeling of her being in the kitchen. I would often poke my head in to join her or just talk. Our favorite recipes often transport us back to a time and place where we’re with the ones we love. There’s nothing better than food that tastes good and is also good for your heart. I loved that this story blends those ideas together. 

What do you hope that readers walk away understanding after reading A Spoonful of Faith?

I’ve always been big believer of taking steps of faith in creativity, work, and everyday life. I hope this story encourages children and parents to overcome anything with the little bit of faith that’s already within them.

Can you share a bit about your journey that led you to walk away from a full-time position to launch this new chapter known as Spoonful of Faith? 

I started my illustration company, Spoonful of Faith, about 8 years ago. It started out as a blog where I could share my doodles and bits of faith and inspiration. 

At that time, I was a new mom, and I remember thinking I didn’t want to tell my daughter that she could do and be anything she wanted if I didn’t believe the same for myself. That moment was the first step in a new direction for me. Every day since then, I’ve taken daily steps of faith and followed the ideas and dreams I believe God has given me. I’ve had to overcome a lot in the process, but I am so thankful for what has blossomed from it.

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